The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called for companies to splash out on technology to close the productivity gap between the UK and neighbouring countries.
In a move which can be quoted by sales teams, the CBI said that there were significant reasons for companies to adopt a more technological framework and called on the government to help out.
In a new report, with the slightly surreal title “From Ostrich to Magpie” the business group is urging the government to make funds available for small businesses to invest in technologies such as cloud, mobile technology, e-purchasing and cybersecurity.
The report said that the UK’s productivity lags almost a decade behind that of Denmark in some areas, and is behind France and Germany.
Encouraging more businesses to behave like ‘magpies’ – by picking the best tried-and-tested technologies on the market – rather than ‘ostriches’, would help reduce inequality between UK firms’ productivity and add over £100bn to the UK economy, the report argues.
CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said the diffusion of technology had been a “serial blind spot” for the government in its efforts to boost productivity.
“At a time when the public purse is tight, encouraging new technology uptake is one of the most effective routes to raising productivity”, she said.
“With the government committed to creating a Shared Prosperity Fund using funds previously allocated to EU membership, there are few better priorities than this for where to invest it.”
The next quarter is full of economic promise, according to a report released by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The CBI’s latest growth indicator said output rose and the UK’s economic recovery is under way.
Manufacturing output stayed solid, while there was continuing growth in the retail and service sectors, said the CBI.
“The outlook for the next three months is exceptionally strong and broad based, with growth expectations the strongest since the data began in 2003,” said the CBI.
Katja Hall, the CBI policy director, said that even though “consumer” spending formed most of GDP growth in 2013, “there are firm indications of growth becoming more broad based. It’s good see that business investment has consistently contributed to quarterly growth since 2013”.
Productivity and earning will recover this year, while general growth is fuelled by rising business and consumer confidence as well as “supportive monetary conditions”, said Hall.
The July heatwave is long gone, but its positive effects on the retail sector are still being felt. According to the British Retail Consortium, footfall was up 0.8 percent in July compared to a year ago. The footfall uptick was not the only good news, as vacancy rates went down.
BRC found that vacancy rates in town centres went down from 11.9 percent in April to 11.1 percent in July. Since lovely weather drove shoppers back to the high street, online took a hit. Online sales fell two percent compared to June, but year-on-year they were up nine percent.
In addition, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is now forecasting GDP growth of 1.2 percent in 2013, up from 1.0 percent in its May forecast. CBI revised its figures after a better than expected second quarter and signs of a pick-up in confidence across a broad range of sectors, including services, construction and manufacturing.
“The economy has started to gain momentum and confidence is picking up, but it’s still early days,” John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said. “We need to see a full-blown rebalancing of our economy, with stronger business investment and trade before we can call a sustainable recovery. We hope that will begin to emerge next year, as the Eurozone starts growing again.”
As the Eurozone emerges out of recession, we could be in for a period of relative stability, but the recovery remains painfully slow in most sectors.
July retail sales in Britain rose at their fastest pace since January, thanks to summer shopping and the unseasonal heatwave.
According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), retail sales hit their six-month high in July. Retailers recorded strong demand for clothing, footwear and just anything related to tropical temperatures.
Retail sales volumes in recent weeks were practically unchanged from the same period last year, according to the latest figures from the British Consortium of Industry. Although the industry was hoping for a better start of the summer season, there was little change, although the start of June looks a bit more promising than May.
Orders were broadly flat on a year ago, although they surpassed expectations of a third consecutive fall. Sales volumes were below average for the time of year in June, despite more optimistic expectations and good weather. However, the outlook for July is a bit brighter, as retailers expect sales volumes to rise.
The survey, conducted between 29th May and 13th June, found that 25 percent of firms reported sales were up on a year earlier, while 24 percent said they were down. One in ten reported good sales volumes in line with seasonal trends, while 26 percent said their sales were poor.
Looking at July, 32 percent of firms expect an increase in volumes, while 19 percent are gearing up for another decrease. Interestingly, 63% of wholesalers reported sales volumes were up on a year earlier, and 18% said they were down. These numbers saw faster growth than expected, while most other indicators fell below expectations.
Sales in non-specialised stores, foot and leather store and non store sales all saw double-digit growth, but sales in durable household goods, cultural goods including papers and DVDs, were down.
UK retail sales are down and it seems the slump is worse than economists had predicted. According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), retail sales will hit a five-month low in February.
Although volumes continued to strengthen in the first half of February, the pace of growth slowed down once again. CBI found that 37 percent of retailers saw an increase in their volume in early 2013, while 29 percent reported a decline.
The resulting balance of 8 percent was the lowest figure since September 2012. It was also the third consecutive month in which the pace of growth had slowed. Economists expected growth to drop to 16 percent, down from 17 in January. They also expected the volume of orders to remain flat, but they fell 19 percent, the lowest figure since November 2011.
However, it is not all doom and gloom. CBI reckons the business situation is actually improving. The business situation balance rose to +12, the best result since August 2011. Some retail sub-sectors also did quite well, such as clothing, furniture and none-store goods, which includes online and mail order sales. In fact, non-store sales were up 70 percent.
“We all know trading is tough, and the bad weather hasn’t exactly been encouraging shoppers to hit the high street lately,” said Barry Williams, Chairman of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey.
So, it appears that strong non-store sales had a lot to do with horrid weather, and the weather also contributed to the sharp decline in retail footfall last month.